Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed left-handed pitcher Estalin Ortiz from the Dominican Republic. He’s 19 years old and stands 6’4″, 220 pounds. Ortiz reportedly agreed to an offer with the Philadelphia Phillies in early December, but he did not sign. He had also been scouted by numerous other teams late last year who were interested in signing him, but wouldn’t match his bonus demand, which was higher at the time.

I was able to find two videos of him, one of them a brief one with a scouting report from that day. The first is a YouTube video from October 2016 when he pitched in a tournament in Florida. He was sitting 92-93 MPH during this game.

The second is a clip of off Twitter when he was playing in a tournament with the Dominican Prospect League this past October.

Ortiz allowed one hit and had two strikeouts during his only inning in the game shown above. He also threw two innings prior to that with six strikeouts in that game. It was during this tournament that multiple teams were interested in signing him. He has been up to 94-95 MPH since that video. He also throws a changeup in the mid-80s.

There is no bonus known at this time for Ortiz, but based on what I’ve heard from someone with inside knowledge, it’s probably in the $200,000-$300,000 range.

The Pirates have now signed 43 international free agents since July 2nd (technically 45, but two contracts were voided). We don’t know their remaining bonus pool, but I think it’s safe to say it’s under $1 M at this point and could be much closer to $500,000 left out of their $5.75 M pool.

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34 COMMENTS

  1. The first video made me think of Sabathia, which can’t be a bad thing – always scary watching young pitchers fall off the mound like that with no way to protect themselves though.

      • I mentioned it in response to one of the above comments, but he hasn’t signed until now due mostly to unrealistic bonus demands. He wanted $1M at one point and that wasn’t even his original asking price. He raised it as he got better. If he was willing to originally sign for $200,000-$300,000, then he would already have two seasons of pro ball in.

        • John, Do you think the signing of Junior Vizcaino as the new International Scouting Director is the reason for all the recent International player signings during the past several weeks. It appears there has been a lot of activity since the announcement of him joining the Bucs in December.

          • I have to believe they are fielding a second DSL team this year with all of these players. They now have enough for two teams. So I think it’s a combo of that and having the money left to spend in their bonus pool.

            I’m more interested to see what he comes up with in July, though I think they signed some really nice players since December.

      • I know, the coverage is phenomenal. I just wish the development time wasn’t so slow. I’ve been here since the beginning. I’ve just learned to temper my excitement especially with international guys cause the process literally feels like forever. But I feel like the Pirates have made some markedly interesting moves this year compared to recent past. We need to keep the pipeline coming so it doesn’t feel like 6 years, it feels like 1 or 2 coming every year.

        • Getting a kid to the majors “early” is usually 21 or 22. Very few of the Latin American players get to the US before age 18, and then there are 7 levels of the minors in the US – GCL, Appy, Short-Season, A, A+, AA, and AAA. Some teams promote aggressively, the Pirates, however, do not.

          Polanco came up to the Pirates at age 22 and Marte age 23, and they were Top Prospects. .

  2. When “hard,” “throwing,” and “lefty” are written in that order, they’re three of my favorite words.

      • They don’t usually skip international pitchers over the DSL unless it’s players like Nick Hutchings, Claudio Scotti or Haicheng Gong, who aren’t from Latin American countries. The lone example I can think of right off the top of my head is Luis Heredia and that was about the bonus money. Ortiz does have a lot of time in the U.S. though. He’s been here for tournaments and training, so they could skip him to the GCL.

        What is actually more likely is that he goes to Spring Training there, plays for a month, then jumps to the GCL when their season starts.

        • I thought about Y Garcia and other olders signings and of course you are right, just find it interesting that he will be older than most HS on the rule 4 draft and will “waste” away in the DSL.

          • If he does a month in the DSL, followed by the GCL, then it isn’t a waste. He would actually be getting more game time in that way. That’s what they did with Samuel Reyes this past year.

    • I wonder if there is enough bonus money remaining to sign the 19 year old Mexican outfielder which was noted in an article about two weeks ago. He had some impressive stats and he might be a good player to sign.

      • The bonuses from Mexico work different than everywhere else. The player is named Fabricio Macias and right now he’s in the middle of a 15-day trip to the Dominican as a showcase for teams. If he signs, only 25% of his bonus will count against the bonus pool. The other 75% goes to his team. No team is paying $1 M to sign him, but even if they did, only $250,000 would count against the pool.

    • I’m going to say for that price for a 19-year-old, there’s probably no major issues. The reason he took this long to sign was strictly unrealistic bonus demands. If he was always willing to sign in that price range I mentioned above, he would have two years or pro ball in already.

        • If you look at it from the Pirates side, you don’t mind getting him when he is 19 because he is further along in his development. That (if he is good enough of course) could help prevent adding him to the 40-man roster when he is low-A like Luis Escobar or even making a minor league free agent decision on him before he’s had a chance to reach the majors like Edwin Espinal

          • Ah, my humor fell flat…or wasn’t really that funny…that’s always a possibility…not a very realistic one, of course 🙂

            I was more musing about being 19. Trying to remember back to that time…I’m pretty sure nothing on my list of concerns was whether I’d be able to develop the skills to effective challenge professional athletes.

            In fact, I think my biggest concerns were who could I get to buy beer and whether I could find a girl dumb enough to jump in bed with me…often the two were intertwined 🙂

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